Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thoughts on Violence

"Wrestlers," oil on paper, 4" x 6", 2012

i painted these wrestlers after
the sandy hook shooting because
i liked their faces and the way
they held each other up. i painted
from a picture i took with my phone
during a movie. in the movie they
were brothers but they had to fight
each other for some stupid reason.
they pounded each other's faces into
the ground and cried. 
roland barthes says that wrestling
is not a sadistic spectacle, it is 
an intelligible spectacle. we don't just want
to see pain, we want to see why pain
happens, the whole equation laid out.
i see one brother holding the other brother's 
arm behind his back in a terrible
bone-twisting way and my body thinks
about what i could do to my own
brother, and under what circumstances.
could i twist his arm like that? could i let go?
what would it feel like to be hit there,
and with that hand?
his suffering is open and i can enter it.
we can collaborate.
like falling in love with you so deeply that
i fall in love with your love for another. 
someone at work after sandy hook
said, "i'm not surprised," 
and i thought, no, we are always
surprised by pain. the next wave
feels the same as the last 
but is brand new. 
i have a lot of dreams
about people i love dying
and they always make me cry
but i feel them so deeply that they must
be more good than bad when all things
are finished.
last week i painted a sad old woman in a 
rocking chair. she didn't want to be happy.
i gave her the love of my labor.
when i painted the wrestlers i almost fixed
their bloody faces with my brush. 
but all of us knew 
it was not my place.

"Wrestlers," detail

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